Born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials have been significantly shaped by the rise of technology, leading to a unique set of skills and habits that can be both an asset and a challenge in the workplace.
Millennials are often perceived as tech-addicted multitaskers, capable of juggling multiple tasks and absorbing information quickly.
This trait can sometimes be misinterpreted as a lack of focus or engagement. It's important to understand that millennials have adapted to a fast-paced, information-rich environment and are capable of utilizing their resources to maximize efficiency.
The Millennial generation has also blurred the lines between professional and personal spaces, leading to a shift in communication styles and expectations.
Millennials view their relationship with their employers as a temporary arrangement rather than a lifelong commitment. This shift has led to changes in management styles, compensation structures, and development opportunities - a new social contract.
My social media study (2016-2018) analyzing social media posts found that Millennials are often perceived negatively in the workplace, but there are voices defending them who assert that they have the potential to improve the future. There's no one answer or a quick fix to generational differences. They began when the second - slightly younger - human came into existence, and they shall live on.
How can we promote a more healthy inter-age workplace environment? Training and awareness programs that address stereotypes and biases on a number of issues can be successful, but we all know we hate those. Here are some basic steps without having to take the whole team to a seminar or on some god-awful "staff retreat."
Be open to dialogue. Open discussions about generational differences and similarities should foster mutual understanding and respect. Have more conversations. Ask more questions.
Be open to adaptive management styles. No manager needs to cater to every unique expectation of another worker, but they do need to be open to new ways of working and communicating that align with the preferences of a changing workforce. This includes recognizing different comfort levels with technology and the ability to multitask effectively.
Be open to boundaries. While millennials are often comfortable with constant connectivity due to their adeptness with technology, it's essential to respect personal boundaries and ensure a healthy work-life balance is maintained. This works both ways though. If you have a flexible schedule, but your boss is an 8-5 kinda boss, plan ahead. Don't fill their inbox with questions while they're at dinner.
Be okay with disloyalty. Redefining workplace commitment is crucial. Millennials view their relationships with their employers as temporary arrangements rather than one lifelong commitment. Understanding this perspective can open up mutually beneficial opportunities.
Be open to new laws and regulations. Advocate for changes that address the Millennial concerns beyond the workplace. Understanding and empathizing with their concerns goes long way in creating a more inclusive, understanding, and trusting culture.
That's what I think, but hey, what do I know? This series of posts was fun! I got to review my old research, see what has and hasn't changed, and talk about it. love.
This is the final post based on the thesis "Millennials, Be Yourself Sometimes" by Stephen Aber at Queens University of Charlotte, 2019.